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USS Delphinus (AF-24) off Mare Island on 6 September 1942.
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Class: DELPHINUS (AF-24)
Refrig. Cargo, 1915
5,233 full load
329.0' oa, 315.0' wl x 44.2' e x 23.0' full
1-4"/50 1-3"/50 6-20mm (1942)
Machinery: Workman, Clark vertical triple expansion, 1 screw
||11 Aug 42
||5 May 15
||11 Aug 42
||9 May 46
||5 Jun 46
||9 May 46
||21 Jan 48
FY 1942. One of a class of seven United Fruit freighters ordered in 1913 (4) and 1920 (3). One of her sisters, SAN BRUNO, was initially selected for conversion but was replaced by SAN MATEO on 28 Jul 42 and continued to serve as a civilian-manned WSA cargo ship for the remainder of World War II.
On 9 Jul 42 CNO directed the acquisition of "three AKs with approximately 100,000 cubic feet of refrigerator space and 26,000 cubic feet of general cargo space" which were required for urgent use to supply island bases in the South Pacific Area by 1 Oct 42. The Auxiliary Vessels Board endorsed this action on 21 Jul 42. On 1 Aug 42 VCNO informed WSA that the three vessels that most nearly met the Navy's needs were SAN BRUNO, LA PERLA, and SAN BENITO. He noted that the last two had been allocated for Army use in services to Hawaii and requested that WSA substitute equivalent tonnage so that these ships could be made available to the Army, which was agreeable to the change. He explained that "it is essential that small vessels be used in the South Pacific due to the vulnerability of larger ships and the requirement of discharging small quantities at various ports. On the other hand, large vessels may be used for reefer cargo between San Francisco and Hawaii and higher temperatures allowed since the entire cargo is discharged at one port." The three "small" ships became AF 23-25. The history written by DELPHINUS stated that her mission was "to transport and issue chilled and frozen food provisions to the fleet and advanced bases with maximum efficiency and service," a statement which succinctly described the role of all Navy AFs in World War II.
||Ex merc. SAN MATEO (completed Jul 15). Converted by Hurley Marine Works, Oakland, Cal. Traded in by owner in part payment for new ships, to NDRF as SAN MATEO 25 Jul 46. Sold by MC as DELPHINUS, to buyer 6 Feb 48, scrapped by 10 Aug 48.
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2001